8 Man
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8 Man
8 Man
Image from the 1960s television series

Written byKazumasa Hirai
Illustrated byJiro Kuwata
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Sh?nen Magazine
Original run -
Anime television series
Directed byHaruyuki Kawajima
Music byTetsuaki Hagiwara
Original networkTBS
English networkNine Network
Original run -
Live-action television film
8 Man Has Returned
Directed byAkinori Kikuchi
Written byMasakazu Shirai
Original networkFuji TV
Released31 August 1987
Live-action film
Subete no Sabishii Yoru no Tame ni
Directed byYasuhiro Horiuchi
Produced byIsao Urushidani
Written byMitsuyuki Miyazaki
Junko Suzuki
Music byCarole King
Original video animation
8 Man After
Directed byYoriyasu Kogawa
Produced byKoji Honda
Norihisa Abe
Shinji Komori
Licensed by
Released -
Runtime25-30 minutes (each)[1]
8 Man After
Written byMasahiro Suematsu
Published byKodansha
MagazineWeekly Sh?nen Magazine
Original run -
8 Man Infinity
Written byKyoichi Nanatsuki
Illustrated byTakayuki Takashi
Published byKodansha
MagazineMagazine Z
Original run -
Wikipe-tan face.svg Anime and Manga portal

8 Man (8) or Eightman (, Eitoman) is a manga and anime superhero created in 1963 by science fiction writer Kazumasa Hirai and manga artist Jiro Kuwata. He is considered Japan's earliest cyborg superhero, predating even Kamen Rider (the same year, Shotaro Ishinomori created Cyborg 009), and was supposedly the inspiration for RoboCop.[2]

The manga was published in Weekly Sh?nen Magazine and ran from 1963 to 1966. The anime series, produced by Eiken with the TCJ Animation Center, was broadcast on Tokyo Broadcasting System, and ran from November 17, 1963, to December 31, 1964, with a total of 56 episodes (plus the "farewell" special episode, "Goodbye, Eightman").


Murdered by criminals, Detective Yokoda's body is retrieved by Professor Tani and taken to his laboratory. There, Tani performs an experiment that has failed seven times; Yokoda is the eighth subject to have his life force transferred into an android body. For the first time, the experiment succeeds. Yokoda is reborn as the armor-skinned android 8 Man, able to dash at impossible speeds, as well as shape-shift into other people. He shifts himself into Yokoda, this time christening himself as "Hachiro Azuma". He keeps this identity a secret, known only to Tani and his police boss Chief Tanaka. Even his girlfriend Sachiko and friend Ichiro do not know he is an android. As 8-Man, Hachiro fights crime (even bringing his own murderers to justice). To rejuvenate his powers, he smokes "energy" cigarettes that he carries in a cigarette case on his belt.[3]

In Japan, the character's origin actually varies significantly between the original manga, the TV series, and the live-action movie. In the original Japanese manga and TV series, the character's name does not change when he is reborn as 8 Man. The "Detective Yokoda" name was created for the live-action version. In the manga, Detective Azuma is trapped in a warehouse and gunned down, while the TV series has him killed when he is run over by a car. Also, in the Japanese story, the character is called "8 Man" because he is considered an extra member of the Japanese police force. There are seven regular police precincts and 8 Man is treated as an unofficial eighth precinct all to himself.

The Japanese manga was presented as serial novella stories along with a set of one-shot stories. Many of the stories were edited down and adapted for the TV series, but not all of them. The novella stories were originally printed on a weekly basis in Shukuu Sh?nen Magazine in 16-page increments that consisted of 15 story pages and one title page. Ten additional one-shot stories were presented in seasonal and holiday specials of Shuukuu Sh?nen Magazine. These stories were generally between 30-40 pages in length.

In the North American version of the series the resurrected detective/android is known as "Tobor" or the word "robot" spelled backwards. Tani is referred to as "Professor Genius" and the sobriquet of 8-Man is changed slightly to "8th-Man". The story content was clearly directed toward a wider audience of both young and adult viewers. Due to changes in cigarette advertising laws in the 1960s, television characters were not allowed to be seen smoking. As this was a major plot device in the series, the show was forced to be removed from broadcast in the United States.

Original Japanese manga story titles

Novella stories

  • (Kaijin Geren) - Galen, The Mystery Man
  • (Satan no Kyodai) - Satan's Brothers
  • 007 (Kairiki Robotto 007) - Strange Powered Robot 007
  • (Kosen Heiki Reza) - The Laser Beam Gun
  • (Chojin Saiba) - Cyber, The Superhuman
  • (Ningen Misairu) - The Human Missile
  • 005 (Satsujin Robotto 005) - Murderous Robot 005
  • (Majo Esupa) - Esper, The Witch
  • (Chojinri Mutanto) - Superhuman Mutant
  • (Majin Kozuma) - The Demon Kozuma
Jiro Kuwata was imprisoned for possession of a handgun before the final 16-page serial of "The Demon Kozuma" was completed.[] The final serial was drawn by Takaharu Kusunoki for the magazine version. Jiro Kuwata later redrew the final pages of the story himself by request of Kazumasa Hirai and Rim Publishing so that they could publish a complete version of the final story.[] (The publishers were not able to use Kusunoki's artwork,[] so the story was omitted or left incomplete in previous official releases.)

Short episode stories

  • - The Condemned Criminal Tarantula
  • - The Duel
  • - Shadow Boxer
  • ? - Vengeful Demon Ghost
  • ? - The Super Vibration Gun
  • ? - Mad Machine
  • PV1? - Cyborg Number PV1
  • - The Assassin Elijah
  • ? - Burning Water
  • ? - Phantom Highway
  • () - Solar Satellite "Thunder" (unreleased story)
This was intended as a lead-in to a series of 23 comic stories adapted from the TV series.

Original Japanese TV episode titles

  1. ? - Introducing Eightman
  2. ? - Galen, The Hitman
  3. - Satan's Brother
  4. B3 - The B3 Gallows
  5. - The Darkness Capsule
  6. - The Gold Gang
  7. ? - The Stealth Jetplane
  8. ? - The Ultra Micro Missile
  9. ? - The Lazer Ray Gun
  10. ?007 - Robot 007
  11. - The Phantom Assassin
  12. - The Undersea Uranium
  13. - The Human Punch Card
  14. - The Super Pilot
  15. ? - The Black Ghost
  16. - Goldbeetle, The Mysterious Thief
  17. ? - The Ultrasonic Wave Doctor
  18. ? - The Typhoon Baron
  19. ? - Galen Strikes Again
  20. 100? - Spy Directive No. 100
  21. - The Robot Tiger
  22. - Challenge to Zero
  23. 13? - Napoleon The 13th
  24. - Operation: Salamander
  25. - Cyber, The Superhuman
  26. ? - Zero Hour: Earth
  27. - Eeler, The Giant Monster
  28. ? - Operation: Bacteria
  29. - The Human Missile
  30. ?C1? - Cyborg No. C1
  31. ? - The Phantom Highway
  32. - Thunder, The Solar Satellite
  33. - Vulcan, The Artificial Lifeform
  34. - The Duel
  35. ? - The Freeze Ray
  36. ?13? - Virus No. 13
  37. 7 - The 7 Day Nightmare
  38. - The Mysterious Ghost
  39. - The Boy Who Made a Phantom
  40. - Jupiter, The Invisible Robot
  41. - Order: Assassinate Eightman
  42. - The Queen Bee Monster
  43. - Esper, The Witch
  44. ? - The World Blitz Plan
  45. - Tarantula, The Condemned Criminal
  46. - The Flying Devil
  47. - Operation: Bubble Ball
  48. SAW - SAW, The Martian
  49. 30 - 3 Billion Hostages
  50. - Giant, The Mysterious Statue
  51. - Target Earth
  52. ? - The Man-Eating Piranha
  53. ? - Moutard's Rebellion
  54. - Law Of The Shark
  55. () - Superhuman Mutant (Part One)
  56. () - Superhuman Mutant (Part Two)
  • "Good Bye Eight Man" - a special look back at the TV series.

The US version

In 1965, 8 Man was brought to the U.S. as 8th Man (sometimes called "Tobor the 8th Man," as in its English-language theme music), with ABC Films as its syndicated distributor. Only 52 of the original 56 episodes were "converted" into English.

The characters were renamed as follows:

  • Yokota/Azuma/8 Man - Special Agent Brady/Tobor ("robot" spelled backwards)/8th Man
  • Tani - Professor Genius
  • Tanaka - Chief FumbleThumbs
  • Sachiko - Jenny Hartsweet
  • Ichiro - Skip


8 Man was ranked ninth in Mania Entertainment's 10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes written by Thomas Zoth, who commented that, "Before Cyborg 009, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Robocop, there was 8 Man: The first cyborg manga and anime hero. Building on Astro Boy, 8 Man helped to shape the trajectory of robot and cyborg heroes for the next decade."[4]


The 8 Man franchise was revived in the early 1990s by a live-action film, video game and new animated series.

Video game

In 1991, SNK released a video game edition of Eight Man for the Neo-Geo arcade and home video game system (both versions are identical) where the player took the role of 8 Man and his robo-comrade 9 Man in a fight against an invading evil robot army. The game was released internationally. While the game stayed true to the concept of a crime-fighting super-robot, it was widely panned for being tedious and relying too much on the gimmick of its speed-running effect.

Live-action movie

In 1992, a live-action film version of 8 Man was produced in Japan. Titled Eitoman - Subete no Sabish? Yoru no Tame ni (8, lit. 8 Man - For All the Lonely Night[6]), it was directed by Yasuhiro Horiuchi and starred Kai Shishido as the title character and Toshihide Wakamatsu as Detective Yokota. Distributed in the United States by Fox Lorber video simply as 8 Man, the movie was widely panned for its choppy editing, mediocre direction and low-budget feel. Many modern American viewers, unfamiliar with the older animated series, felt the movie was an inferior version of RoboCop, despite the fact that the latter was a much more recent franchise.

8 Man After

In mid-1993, the mantle of 8 Man was taken up by Hazama Itsuru in the OVA series 8 Man After. Existing in a world far more corrupt than that of his predecessor, the new 8 Man had no qualms about being extremely violent towards the cybernetic criminals who had murdered him previously. Licensed by Streamline Pictures where it went out of print until being released on DVD by Image Entertainment in 2001. It has since been released by Discotek Media in 2016 with Japanese audio and English subtitles for the first time. [7]

8 Man Infinity

A manga series called 8 Man Infinity (8 Eitoman Infiniti) is being authored by Kyoichi Nanatsuki under Kodansha, which is being serialized under Kodansha's Magazine Z.



  1. ^ "8 Man After - DVD - 1993 - Region 1 - US Import - NTSC". Amazon.co.uk. Retrieved 2012.
  2. ^ "Schoolgirl Milky Crisis: Adventures in the Anime and Manga Trade". A-Net Digital LLC. 5 November 2010. Retrieved 2017 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ Clements, Jonathan; McCarthy, Helen (9 February 2015). "The Anime Encyclopedia, 3rd Revised Edition: A Century of Japanese Animation". Stone Bridge Press. Retrieved 2017 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ Zoth, Thomas (January 12, 2010). "10 Most Iconic Anime Heroes". Mania Entertainment. Archived from the original on October 17, 2013. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ "SNK NeoGeo MVS Hardware (SNK)". system16.com. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Translation of 8 Man Japanese subtitle by Google Translate
  7. ^ "Exclusive: Discotek Licenses 8 Man After OVA". Anime News Network. Retrieved .

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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